EVENTS

Recap: Arizona Roots Festival 2019

Arizona Roots is a new venture brought by the same team that produces California Roots in Monterey, California. Cali Roots has a rich, decade-long history, bringing in unique artists and performances to provide the most memorable experience for consumers. This year, they had partnered with Relentless Beats to put on this event. They also branched out to a new location out-of-state at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in Chandler, Arizona. This new venture had many people abuzz with anticipation to what the festival would be like.

The Festival Grounds

The festival was set up very well, with lots of room to wander and peruse different products from a variety of vendors. The whole event felt very spacious, with ample room for people to sit down, whether on the ground or on blankets that they brought. Wooden picnic tables and chairs were dotted by close to the main stage and some of the food vendors for people who wanted to eat their food and listen to music. Water stations were also provided.

Arizona roots festival 2019
The mainstage: Arizona Roots stage
Photo by Grand Scheme Views
Arizona roots festival 2019
The Rawhide Stage
Photo by Grand Scheme Views

Two music stages are placed on different ends of the event center, one smaller one and one larger one. Food vendors were aplenty, with two drink bars on opposite sides of the event. There was even a Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Deep Eddy’s Vodka vendor as well. Other vendors sold handmade items, such as bags, hats, and many more. Other items offered were smoking paraphernalia, hand-blown glass pieces, and CBD treats. Use this tool for dosing if using CBD. The placement and layout of all the vendors seemed very well-thought-out.

Arizona roots festival 2019
Exquisite handmade wire-wraps and trinkets
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn
Arizona roots festival 2019
Live graffiti artists in action
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

Additionally, A live-graffiti-art section also featured some graffiti artists showing off their skills on large blackboards. People paused to watch in awe and snap photos of the artists in action. A huge metal lion with a green, red, and yellow Rastafarian mane was a cool interactive art car with red seats where people could sit and listen to music. They could also go to the second upper level of the art car and look over everyone below and enjoy the view. A red, furry velvet seat at the mouth of the lion was also a popular photo spot for people.

Arizona roots festival 2019
A popular photo spot: in front of the lion’s mouth
Photo by Grand Scheme Views
Arizona roots festival 2019
The Rastafarian lion art car
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

About the Music

To begin, the music started at 1pm at the Rawhide Stage, which is the smaller stage situated at the side. The lead singer, clad simply in a plain black jacket layered over a black tank top and jeans, had a gorgeous, soulful voice. She sounded like a cross between Joss Stone and Aretha Franklin. The band, called Rilen’ Out, was mixed with both guys and girls. Every band member was decked out in different colors. They all had a good energy about them that fed off to the crowd. They even had a dj/hype man, with a colorful Arizona bandanna on, who provided some scratching on his decks for the band. Riley, the main vocalist, instructed the crowd to go to the front to dance and the crowd complied happily. The band’s sound, described as desert reggae party rock, was the perfect start to an epic two-day weekend.

The lineup of bands was set up in such a way that there were never two bands playing at the same time. This was a very smart and considerate move of the organizers, so people could get food and check out vendors while waiting for the other band at a different stage to set up. This New Zealand band, Katchafire, was at the Arizona Roots stage (also the larger main stage). five -piece band was lively and fun. Their sound was reggae-rock, with groovy and uplifting vibes. The lead singer’s smooth voice blended perfectly with the horns. The band was tight, with catchy inflections, electric guitar solos and slick, sexy lines from the saxophonist.

More about the Music

Hailing from Flagstaff, AZ, Tha ‘Yotties had a unique musical setup. With a flutist and weird-sounding melodies produced with a sitar-like guitar effects pedal, the music seemed almost hauntingly eerie and wonderful. This band had people swaying along to the music, charmed by the tunes. There was not much singing, it was mostly experimental sounds and songs. Flow artists spun around gracefully to the music, with hoops and other dance props.

Arizona roots festival 2019
A gorgeous sunset and a beautiful dancer with her hoop
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

Trevor Hall was clearly one of the bigger artists, as many people congregated to see him. His music was an artful blend of roots and folk music. His smokey, husky voice, akin to John Mayer’s, conveyed power and emotion that the crowd seemed to feel. Shivers ran through the crowd as he sang his melodies. He displayed an ease with the crowd as he laughed and joked with them. The sound system was truly set up perfectly for him, as his vocals rang out clear and loud. With his chill bluesy vibes by his voice and his guitarist, and beautiful harmonies provided by his backup singer, it seemed apparent Trevor Hall is truly a standout artist.

Clint Stevens was a fast-paced band with lots of jazzy elements in their music. They had multiple horns, and it sounded groovy and fun. Many of the band members also had their shades on, which gave them a mysterious vibe. This seven-piece reggae/funk/rock band kept everyone’s hips movin to the music.

The Audience

The crowd for the whole event seemed somewhat older, about early-to-late twenties and onwards. There was a few families who also brought their young children as well. The whole vibe was really chill and laid-back. Everyone seemed friendly towards each other.

Arizona roots festival 2019

Hammocks for people to relax in
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

Lots of Rastafarian clothing and loose, tie-dye clothing was common amongst the audience. As well, there was also a few hammocks for people to lay on and relax in. The organizers had also, considerately, set-up an ADA section facing the main stage. Medical professionals were also on-site to provide medical attention if so needed. In the end, the weather was cold, but it did not seem to bother anyone. Everyone came adequately prepared in layers, rugged baja hoodies and warm clothing.

The Last Day

On Sunday, there was an energy and vibrancy from rapper, Xiuhtezcatl, who was at the Rawhide Stage. A passionate activist, he spoke about minorities and being a powerful, peaceful force among society. This message seemed to sit well with the crowd as they nodded in agreement.

Arizona roots festival 2019
Dispatch LIVE
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

The band, Dispatch, was on at the main stage as one of the final bands that day. The crowd’s favorite songs seemed to be the ones where the two band members harmonized together. There were horns, and a big-band sort of feel, with some acapella tunes thrown in. The duet was done wonderfully, with the girl’s powerful voice blending in with the guy’s perfectly. It was one of the most moving parts of the event.

Arizona roots festival 2019
Fans having a blast
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn
Arizona roots festival 2019
The beautiful backdrop of the Arizona Roots Festival
Photo courtesy of Jacob Tyler Dunn

Finally, this event signified a beautiful new beginning, as the brand spreads its roots further into fresh territory. Fans also responded well to the many vendors with green environmental initiatives and information about partnerships with nonprofits. This event was a huge success, judging by the crowd’s response to it and diverse group of food, music, and vendors that were offered. The future for the Arizona Roots Festival is bright and no doubt, the years to come will provide for an even better experience for all.

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